Sunday Surf – Adjusting to a New Normal

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI’m joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

Happy Surfing!

Banana is 3 weeks and 3 days old! Wow time is flying. He’s already looking and acting less like a newborn and more like a baby.

And as a family we’re getting back into our routines. Every morning my husband drops Peanut off at school (after either I get her ready or he does if I’ve had a rough night with Banana and need to sleep more). Banana usually sleeps all morning, either on me or in the swing, and I play with Twig and get her ready. Then at 11am we go pick up Peanut from school, spend some time at the park or running errands or just hanging out at home. Lunch around 1-1:30, then naptime (thankfully Twig started napping again) and quiet time for the girls, Banana usually naps here too (even sometimes in the bed with Twig for a while). Usually Peanut gets some mama time after she finishes quiet time (an hour) and before Twig wakes up from her nap (usually 2 hours) and we read books, play games, and do her homework. Then more playing and daddy comes home at five, we eat dinner and hang out and/or watch a show as a family. Obviously weekends are different, but it still follows the general formula.

The adjustment is going much better this time than when Twig was born. I’m sure that’s in large part my lack of postpartum depression, which is still baffling to me. I’ve had a lot better support this time around, especially from my husband and in-laws. I’ve still felt a little bit overwhelmed and a few times I’ve gotten that barely keeping my head above water feeling, but I think that’s normal for this time period. I’ve also been getting a decent amount of sleep most nights (yay for breastfeeding and co-sleeping!), though Banana having a minor cold through a wrench in the works for the last few days. Even then it hasn’t been terrible. Anyway, on to the surf!

The magic way I get crabby evening baby to sleep.

I got bangs!

Peanut just adores him.

25 Ways To Ask Your Kids “So how was school today?” Without Asking them “So how was school today?” at Simple Simon and Company. We’ve been using some of these and it’s working really well. I’m still getting used to Peanut being in a school that doesn’t have a one way mirror window. We especially like to use #1 thus far.

13 Great Things to Say to a Sleep Deprived Parent at Belly Baby. This list is great! I love that it has so many positive reinforcement messages for the parents. When parents, especially first time parents, are constantly told that their baby shouldn’t need to be held so much/needs to stop using mom as a pacifier/should already be sleeping through the night it undermines the parents’ natural instincts. Telling someone how wonderful and happy their baby is and how they’re doing a great job can make all the difference.

5 Things Not To Say To A Woman With Postpartum Depression — And What To Say Instead at The Huffington Post. Like I said, I’m not suffering from postpartum depression this time (yet. knock on wood), but this is great information to have for anyone who is around a mom who does have PPD (which is likely you, as something like 10% of moms have it). I especially like the one about how your symptoms are not you, but just your symptoms. I think it would have been nice to hear some of these things after Twig was born (and thankfully I didn’t hear any of the bad ones!).

And a funny little video Things You Can’t Do When You’re Not a Toddler.

My New Business Venture (AKA Buy My Diaper Covers!)

It occurred to me not long after Twig’s birth that, Wow! Wool diaper covers are crazy expensive! And as time as passed this fact has been confirmed over and over again. People asking me the absolute minimum amount of wool covers they can get away with. People using non-wool covers in conjunction with wool to offset the price. Even people not using wool at all because the prices are so inhibitory.

I was luckily in that I know how to knit. I was able to knit up lots of covers with cheap yarn and save a boatload of cash. Though I know knitting doesn’t come naturally to everyone nor do many people have the time to knit.

So for the last year or so I’ve had the idea bumping around in my head about selling wool covers on the cheap. I really want to make wool accessible to the masses. Still, I wasn’t so into the idea of starting up my own shop. Not too long after my initial idea, my lovely friend Jillian contacted me about doing the very thing I had been thinking of.

So we decided to team up and give the internets the chance to buy hand knit wool covers for reasonable prices through Jillian’s already thriving business, Pretty Paisley Productions. Yay! And they’re super cute too (if I do say so myself)! I can tell you from experience that these yarns I use, while affordable, work great. They’re what I use on my own kids! We’re even planning on adding one-of-a-kind hand dyed (by Jillian) and then hand knit (by me) diaper covers at some point in the future. I’m so excited!

As a special announcement to my covers launching on Pretty Paisley Productions, I’m giving away one of my covers! Size to be determined by you, made in the super cute Thanksgiving-y yarn that this cover to the right was knit out of, and pretty design elements to be chosen by me. 🙂

So who wants to win a cover?!? Here’s how:

Mandatory first entry: Go to the Pretty Paisley Productions site and check it out! Leave a comment here telling me what you like most about her new site. Be sure to use an email you can be contacted at in case you win!

1 entry: follow me on Twitter. If you already follow, you still get an entry!

1 entryfollow Pretty Paisley Productions on Twitter. If you already follow, you still get an entry!

1 entry: Tweet about this giveaway (leave a link to the tweet in the comment). You can tweet about this giveaway once every day for an entry. That’s up to 15 entries just from tweeting!

2 entries (don’t forget to comment twice!): follow this blog by email (or other following mechanism of your choosing).  If you already follow, you still get an entry!

2 entries: become a fan of The Adventures of Lactating Girl on Facebook. If you’re already a fan, you still get an entry!

2 entries: become a fan of Pretty Paisley Productions on Facebook. If you’re already a fan, you still get an entry!

1 entry: Write a post on your Facebook page about this giveaway! Make sure you link to The Adventures of Lactating Girl on Facebook and Pretty Paisley Productions on Facebook in the post and leave a comment here each time you do it. You can do it once per day! That’s up to 15 entries!

3 entries: blog about this contest (leave a link the comment). Once per giveaway.

The winner will be chosen on Tuesday, August 26th extended to Thursday, August 28th at 10:00am Mountain Standard Time by random. The winner will be emailed and must respond to the email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck everyone!

Our simple Mother’s and Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day! Today I decided to give you a glimpse into how we celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day in our house. Hope you like!

In our house, we don’t like to make a huge fuss about most holidays. I have tons of fun hiding eggs for Easter and my husband and I are particularly loving on valentines, but we just don’t turn every holiday into a big charade like seems to be the trend these days.

This especially applies to gifts. My husband and I both aren’t huge gift getters/receivers. Sure, we appreciate a well thought out token of affection and especially things that are useful, but we don’t exchange many gifts in general. We like to keep it minimalistic with either no gifts, something we already need, or an occasional treat.

When it comes to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we go no gifts. This doesn’t mean that we don’t make it a special day, but just that material things aren’t in the mix. Since I’m sure some of you are similar (or are searching out what to do for your parental celebration days), I decided to share our little tradition.

For the parent who we are celebrating, it starts with sleeping in. As parents, this doesn’t happen too often, so it’s a nice treat. Then breakfast made by others in the family, most definitely something that the parent loves to eat. Bonus points if it’s ready when they wake up from said sleeping in.

Next the presents. Wait, I thought you said no presents? Well sort of. No big explosion of things off amazon bought in secrecy. Instead, it’s homemade gifts from the girls. This year for Mother’s Day Peanut decided of her own accord to paint me a picture (then of course Twig had to do one too). We also love to do these All About my Mom/Dad printables. I love having something I can save and get a look into who they were and what they thought of me at that age. It’s really fun to see how their answers change. My husband and the girls also like to pick flowers from our garden and make me a little bouquet. Lastly, the parent gets to generally rest for the day as much as possible. Relax and take a load off sort of thing.

For the grandmas/grandpas, they get the same treatment of gifts from the girls and I try to do a craft they can keep for a long time. I really like to do things with handprints/fingerprints to see how they change over the years. This year we made this fingerprint flower for the grandmas and last year we framed these photos for the grandpas. Simple things that stick around at the grandparents houses.

So there’s how we celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day around here. It’s simple, but still full of love and appreciation for the person we’re celebrating. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or make things complicated to create a tradition and, in my opinion, free heart-felt “gifts” are much more meaningful than running into the grocery store for a bouquet of roses anyhow.

I’m Forever Theirs

I write this as I watch Peanut at her preschool through the one-way glass. Yes, I should probably be doing homework instead of staring at my child, but I just don’t want to. You see, she’s pretty frickin’ awesome.

Really, parenting is just great.
I spend a lot of time on this blog logging my complains, contemplations, and struggles. And yes, there are certainly a lot of those. Life as a parent of two little people (and soon to be three!) is so difficult at times that I want to lock myself in the closet. Being frustrated, exhausted, and overwhelmed is a regular part of the life of a parent, but it’s only part.
Occasionally I feel the need to reiterate this. Maybe just to keep the record of our lives via the internet evened out or maybe just because of hormonal bursts of love I feel for my children. Whatever it is, this amazing part of parenthood is not only the reason we all continue to survive as a species (if it were all bad, no one would reproduce!), but the reason I live.
These two little girls make my heart sing. They are my biggest accomplishment in life and the best thing about it. Watching them accomplish new things makes me swell with pride, watching them struggle makes me want to hurt things, watching them love each other makes me realize this is what I was put on this earth to do. They are my babies and I love them more than I could ever have imagined I could.
They are mine and I am overcome with happiness for I am forever theirs.

Changing my Stance on Vaccines

First off, I’d like to say that I still believe that it’s every parent’s right to choose how they parent. This post isn’t meant to tell anyone that they’re wrong or a bad parent because they don’t believe with me 100%. Of course this is the case with all my posts, but I feel the need to state it right in the beginning of this one because I know this is such a touchy subject. People have very strong opinions on either side of the argument and that leads to some very heated discussions. I’m not saying these things to turn into an argument, but rather to show other parents that we can change our minds. We can admit when we’re wrong and go another direction and in this case, I am admitting that I was wrong. Here’s another article that my husband recently shared with me that has a similar theme.

My vaccine journey, of course, started when Peanut was very young. I knew a little about vaccines, but not much, when she was born. I knew I wanted to wait on the Hepatitis B vaccine, though she ended up getting it at 2 weeks because of a miscommunication between myself and my husband. After researching and reading The Vaccine Book (still a great read that I would recommend), I decided that she would still get all of her infant vaccines, but she would go in every month to get them and do 3 at a time instead of every other month and 6 at a time. It just made sense to me to still get this protection, but have less of an overload on her system at once.

Then as she got older, I started to question some of the live inactive vaccines they are supposed to get at one year. I was initially planning on getting the MMR in three separate vaccines, but it was take off the market as separate vaccines before she was old enough to get it. I also questioned chicken pox, as many parents who are my age or older do, because I had the illness as a child and it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I also decided not to do Hepatitis A because of the minute risk of seizure for children under 2. So she didn’t get any vaccines at one year. She did get her boosters for the other vaccines we had already started for 15 months.

This is about the time when I really started to get “crunchy.” Of course, I don’t consider being crunchy a bad thing whatsoever. I still completely believe in questioning the system, avoiding chemicals, and so many other parts of living a more natural life. Anyway, I started talking to these moms I now surrounded myself with and found that many of them did not vaccinate at all. This made me question vaccines myself. I became even more questioning when I read some obscure article stating there could be a link between peanut allergies and vaccines. By the time that Twig was born, I was completely anti-vaccine.

Now we fast forward to a few months ago. As many of you may know, I’m a biology teaching major. Last semester I took microbiology. This course was something I was not excited to take and therefore I put it off until almost the very end of my degree. Turns out I love it. Microbiology is fascinating to me and has actually solidified many of my crunchy ideals (e.g. fermentation and the health of gut microflora), but the one thing it directly clashed with is vaccines. We had a whole lecture series on vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases. Initially I felt like I was the person sitting bright cheeked in the second row (embarrassment), but that quickly turned into bright cheeked in the second row from anger. How dare my professor (and a guest professor) tell me I was wrong about vaccines? Then what they were saying started to make sense.

I’ll be the first to admit that they were both very passionately pro-vaccine. That’s not what got me though, it was the facts. So many of the things that they said made so much sense to me scientifically. For the longest time I had been simply ignoring the arguments from the crunchy folks that didn’t mesh with what I know about science, but all of this brought it to light in one foul swoop.

Many say that vaccines weren’t what brought down illness, but sanitation. My professors presented multiple charts to me showing that simply wasn’t the case. Many argued that vaccines just don’t work. Well here’ the mechanism that shows that they do work and it makes absolute sense from everything I know about biology and human physiology (which I’d venture to say it quite a bit at this point). Many say that they simply are too unsafe for the small risk that these relatively harmless diseases present or incredibly rare diseases present. Yes, there have been 5 cases of diphtheria in the US in the last 10 years, but do you know what that disease does? It basically chokes you to death. And it’s all one radical terrorist with the wrong connections away from running rampant in our country again.

So this all got me thinking. I understand the science behind vaccines, I understand the logic of getting them. From here, we decided to have a talk with our doctor. I had always planned on vaccinating Twig at some point, but I had no idea when. All I knew is that I didn’t want to bring so many foreign things into her body (especially anything that could risk her having a peanut allergy like big sis) at such a young age. Well all this thinking made me realize that now was the time and I wanted to discuss with our trusted pediatrician (Seriously, we have the best pediatrician in the whole world and I wish she could be my doctor. When we brought Peanut in with eczema, do you know what she told us to put on it? Coconut oil!) to decide which ones were important for her to get. During our discussion, she told me point blank that the whole peanut oil in vaccines thing was completely off base. I knew it probably was just some crackpot theory, but this solidified it. So we discussed which vaccines were the most important for her to get and I went home to plan out a schedule.

I decided she would for sure get polio (my husband has a co-worker who is from India and this series made me realize how close polio really is), HiB, and PC. I was unsure on DTaP because I’m fairly sure she’s already been exposed (my husband and Peanut both had it June before last) and received enough protection from my breast milk to avoid getting sick while producing her own antibodies. We would wait on all of the others and probably not get the flu vaccine at all.

Then the unthinkable happened to a friend–her baby died of the flu. I was so convinced that this just didn’t happen based on what I had read in The Vaccine Book and elsewhere. The flu isn’t that bad! We all make a big fuss about nothing! It’s mostly the elderly that die and even then, it’s reported the same way as pneumonia so we can’t really say a specific number! But it does happen and I saw it with my own eyes. I’m ashamed that it took seeing an innocent life taken for me to understand the true importance of herd immunity. Herd immunity may not be perfect, but it’s real. And if someone wouldn’t have exposed that poor baby to the flu because that (likely) healthy adult had good immunity, she would be alive today. I’m not saying this just for fear mongering, but because we need to know that these illnesses that can be prevented with vaccines really do kill. And if we all vaccinate we can help protect those who can not.

So here I am. I’m not completely sure where we’re going from here, but I know we’re going to vaccinate. I’m not sure when and if all, but I’m leaning towards all of them. And this goes for myself too. I can’t believe I’ve been saying no to the flu vaccine every year when I’m asthmatic and highly susceptible to pneumonia. I’m a scientist at heart and it just makes sense to me from that perspective. I feel like so much of the anti-vaccine arguments aren’t based in science. Anyway, this has been kind of a mash of all of the things going on in my head, so I’m sorry if it doesn’t make sense. For anyone out there who is crunchy and contemplating doing vaccines, know you’re not alone. There’s a whole horde of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, babywearing, gentle disciplining moms who also choose to vaccinate their children.

Reminding Myself

IMG_1733Obviously, things have been busy since the semester started. I haven’t updated this blog and, to be honest, I don’t feel bad about it. I entered this semester at school determined to avoid the “I’m not updating my blog” guilt. School is priority and, while I do love this blog, sometimes it just has to fall by the wayside. And right now I just don’t have the mental capacity to answer emails most days, let alone blog.

But there is something that needs to not fall by the wayside–my kids.

Overall, I feel pretty good about how we’ve been since the semester started. We’re nearing the halfway mark and I don’t feel on the verge of a mental breakdown. Sure, things are stressful. Sure, I’m not getting as much time with the girls as I did during the summer. I’m not quiet to the point of feeling like I’m always playing catchup, but I am definitely teetering on that edge. We have enough things going on that I definitely get the feeling that we couldn’t take even one more thing. A few weeks ago when Twig suddenly stopped going to sleep at night I thought that I was going to go crazy. I seriously did have the kind of freak out that I would have called a “panic attack” in the past. Now I just call it having kids drive you crazy. Anyway, we’re pretty much operating at maximum capacity.

And even though I feel like I’m reasonably present with my children when we’re together. Even though I feel like we’re all handling things pretty well and staying connected to each other. It’s easy to slip into old patterns.

I find myself yelling more, feeling less sympathy, just wanting them to leave me alone for a few minutes so I can breathe. These are all feelings I’ve dealt with in the past and I try to work on being a happier mama, but it’s not my default.

So today while I was nursing Twig down for a nap, I was reading Hobo Mama (I do try to keep up with my feed as best as I can). I’ve gotten multiple emails about this Playful Parenting eBundle. To be honest, I read the title and deleted them. I just don’t have time to be an affiliate and promote anything right now, as I’ve said above. I read this post on 11 Playful Parenting Ideas and loved it. Immediately afterwards (as Twig was now sleeping soundly), I went downstairs and played hide and go seek, baby washing machine (from the post), and then Uno with Peanut. And when Peanut had a meltdown during Uno (she realized she could have played a card after her turn had passed and we couldn’t backtrack), I felt so much more patient.

I could have used that 30-60 minutes that we played to do homework, yeah. Sundays are nice homework days for me because we’re already at the grandparents houses (we go to my in-laws for lunch and then my parents’ for dinner every Sunday) and they’re playing, so I can get some stuff done before the new school week starts. So yeah, I could have accomplished a bit more without the play, but instead I chose to reconnect with my child. I think it’s good that we get our space during the week, but it is a strain on our relationship to spend so much time apart and then come home and have more things to do. It was nice to get that connection.

It also made me realize something–reading about parenting helps me parent the way I want to. Having that little reminder helps me act in the way I want to. It helps me feel the patience I’m always striving to have. It helps me forget all the homework and dishes for a few minutes and be really, really present with my kids. So I’m buying that eBundle. I’m going to, in my sparse spare time, try to read little snippets. And I’m going to try to be a more playful parent, even in the stress of the semester.

If you’re going to buy the book, I urge you to do so though Hobo Mama. She’s really great and has always been an inspiration to be as a parent. Follow through to this link and then to the link to purchase it within her post. 

mamatea Winner and Some Plants

And the winner for the mamatea Giveaway is… Screen shot 2013-09-18 at 7.40.33 AM Screen shot 2013-09-18 at 7.43.46 AM Congrats to Danielle Bosserman! Dani is actually a good friend of mine and I know she’ll put her tea to good use! So extra congrats!

And now for the plants. Plants? Yes, plants. These are a {very late} birthday gift to my friend Shelby. She was the one who introduced me to the awesome game Plants Vs. Zombies. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should definitely try it out.